27 July, 2021

COVIDED! From Vishu To Bihu, Holi To Easter, Prayers And Fun On Hold

The famous Jagannath Rathyatra in Puri is uncertain and the marriage season has taken a beating due to the cruel coronavirus pandemic

Will this year’s Ganesha festival and the Jagannath Rath Yatra (left) go the way of Eid and Ram Navami?
Photograph by PTI & Getty Images
COVIDED! From Vishu To Bihu, Holi To Easter, Prayers And Fun On Hold

Yes, we saw some newly invented faux festivals—Balcony Diwas No. 1 and 2. But the colours leached out of India’s real festival calendar this spring—especially if the celebrations were of the sort that revolved around congregating. We just about sneaked in a subdued Holi, on March 10—both Prime Minister Modi and Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal abstained. The first big event to be officially cancelled was a mega show in Ayodhya for Ram Navami, on April 2. The long phase of Lenten austerity didn’t really seem to end on Easter, April 12. For the cluster of traditional New Years around April 14—from Vishu to Bihu—all the festivities stayed at home.

As the month turned to May, the ilanji tree outside Thrissur’s Vadakkumnathan temple stood lone witness to a strangely empty vista—no percussion from paradise, no ecstatic lakhs. The Pooram had been cancelled, perhaps for the first time since 1962, the war with China. The chariots are being readied at Jagannath, but will they roll on June 23? Puri, in the green zone, hopes so....

Latest Magazine

August 02, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section